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Worried about slump? Not Espinosa

Sep 23, 2010, 4:30 AM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Danny Espinosa snapped out of a 5-for-51 slump with a triple and go-ahead homer.

As the outs piled up and the first slump of his big-league career moved into full swing, Danny Espinosa could have started panicking. He could have worried about getting benched. He could have started doubting whether he'd be able to hit pitching at this level again.

That, however, would not be Espinosa's style. He didn't follow in the footsteps of Troy Tulowitzki and Evan Longoria at Long Beach State by doubting himself. He didn't cruise through four levels of the Nationals' farm system in 2 1/2 years by questioning his abilities. And now that he's reached the majors, he's not going to suddenly start worrying about a little slump.

"It was easy for me to think that I was going to get through this," he said. "I knew I wasn't going to stay in this. It's not me. I know I can play here, and I have to have the confidence that I know I can play here and know I was going to come out of this."

Espinosa said this inside the Nats' clubhouse some 30 minutes after the conclusion of a 4-3 victory over the Astros that wouldn't have been possible without his contributions.

When he stepped to the plate in the third inning, he was stuck in a 5-for-51 funk. Then he tripled off the fence in center field and wound up scoring the Nationals' first run. And when he stepped to the plateRead more »

  1. dale - Sep 23, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    I cringed when I read the part about the Nats picking up a veteran infielder. Will Riggleman feel obligated to give the veteran his 1/3 of the at bats like he did this season? If so, the best thing that Rizzo can do is not to pick up a veteran infielder–let Gonzalez be the relief man for that trio.

  2. Nats fan in NJ - Sep 23, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    Dale – I couldn't agree more. At this point, kinda like what was done with Desmond this year, lets put Espinosa out there next year and see if he can handle it. The kid's glove is smooth so he is a tremendous asset defensively. Let him have his shot.

  3. N. Cognito - Sep 23, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    You pick up a veteran infielder that knows his job is as a backup.Beats selling Lady Kenmores.

  4. CapPeterson - Sep 23, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    Do Kennedy and, more important, Rigs know that at his age Kennedy is a backup? I.e., no guaranteed # of ABs. Re-upping him would be fine in that case.

  5. bgib - Sep 23, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    I miss Jamey Carroll.

  6. JaneB - Sep 23, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Oh Jamey Carroll! Such a hard charger but not bin a hot doggy way. Like Dale and Nats fan in NJ it made my stomach turn to read about them signing a middle infielder. I like the way the rest of you are thinking keep Kennedy to back him up, but AS back up. On another note, it was interesting to me last night that, when the Astros went ahead, the vibe in the stadium wasn't deadly. Yet it has turned that direction in the past. Was it the win the night before? What made the difference? Whatever it was, it was real. We need more of THAT to get more curly W's. And a veteran lights out pitcher signed. But UNTIL then…

  7. Harper_ROY_2012 - Sep 23, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    @ Bgib – Ditto, Jamey was a great utility man.As for Espinosa, despite his slump he has earned a spot at 2B for 2011, no need to bring in a veteran free agent, he is better than Desmond and he was handed the SS job basically sight unseen.

  8. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    With 3/4 of a tremendous defensive infield, would the Nats be better off with an up and coming Mike Morse at first next year? Project Mike's offensive numbers over a full year and add in his defensive edge over Adam and the Nats could have a very good infield.

  9. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    Loved Jamey, and have followed his career since he left the team (as I have with other Nats). I'm also liking what Espinosa brings to the team.Oh, and re. this: "Beats selling Lady Kenmores." I'd add, or working at Tire World.

  10. 320R2S15 - Sep 23, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    Jamey, good lord what a solid pro and the basdeges sold him for 400K….sounds like Stan might have had enough of this owner.

  11. Knoxville Nat - Sep 23, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    What is Morse's "defensive edge" over Dunn? I would suggest that the there isn't enough of a sample to compare Morse to Dunn defensively at first base.

  12. Doc - Sep 23, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    Me three, or four, on picking up a utility 2nd baseman. I wouldn't trust trust Riggleman with that kind of roster move. Gonzo is more than sufficient. Kennedy was part of Riggleman's delusional substitution format. He's like a kid with two Lego kits.2011 or bust!!!!!!!!!!

  13. natsfan1a - Sep 23, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    Hey, kids, if you're going to the game today, don't forget that Figueroa really likes it when you cheer like a bunch of softball girls. Example: Who likes softball girls? (clap-clap clap-clap-clap) We like softball girls! (clap-clap clap-clap-clap):-D

  14. Section 222 - Sep 23, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    I second the sentiment that there is no need to sign a utility infielder or re-up AK. AG is a perfectly good backup for all three infielders, and even can play 1B if needed. He only has 148 ABs this year. I wouldn't mind seeing him get 250 filling in for Desi, Espi, and occassionally, Zim.I also feel strongly that Espi should be given an opportunity to win the SS job in spring training. If he can learn to play 2B so can Desmond, and I am certain he would not make over 30 errors next year as our starting SS. Playing SS will allow him to take advantage of that rifle of an arm. Desmond has a great arm too, but his hands are not as sure.

  15. Anonymous - Sep 23, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    "I also feel strongly that Espi should be given an opportunity to win the SS job in spring training. If he can learn to play 2B so can Desmond, and I am certain he would not make over 30 errors next year as our starting SS. Playing SS will allow him to take advantage of that rifle of an arm. Desmond has a great arm too, but his hands are not as sure."True statement there. Riggleman's comment that "there's no chance" of a switch is close-minded at best….Espi was the starting SS as a Freshman @ Long Beach following in Tulo's shoes, and the team didn't skip a beat.None of us know for sure, but Espi's needs an honest shot to lead the team in the SS position. His glove is solid, he's shown tremendous range, and all indications are that Espi has an even better arm than Desi (who clearly has a plus arm himself). Remember, this is the same kid who scouts have been forever saying will "never hit for power", and now stands at what…24 or 25 HR's on the season?!Nothing against Desi, but Espinosa seems to have earned a shot at the SS position….unless of course, Riggleman is so in love with Desi he can't be impartial for the sake of the team…Whatever the case is, looks like the Nat's are continuing to build a strong team!

  16. Joe Seamhead - Sep 24, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    I like the Desmond/Espinosa combo the way it is. I really think that Danny makes Ian better. As to Michael Morris, I still hear people say that he's a bench player, he's not an everyday player, he's a defensive liability, etc.I don't get how people are so quickly reaching any of these conclusions. All he's done is hit .300, has a great slugging percentage, basically has learned a new position in RF without being charged with one error. As a matter of fact he hasn't been charged with one error at any position since it was established that he wasn't a major league SS. I know that he isn't always the most graceful, or the fastest outfielder, but he has a good arm, makes few mistakes out there, and is, though somewhat streaky at the plate, a pretty solid hitter. If Dunn isn't re-signed I wouldn't think of Mike as being a horrible alternative at 1b, but I like him in right, but if the grand projection of Harper being up here in a year or two then Morse won't be in right for long anyway.. I really like Dunn,seems to be a great guy, but I don't think that the Nats will ever be a winning team with him at first.





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